Rescue mission serving homeless vets food, shelter - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Rescue mission serving homeless vets food, shelter

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The rescue mission is seeing needy vets of all age groups come through their doors. The rescue mission is seeing needy vets of all age groups come through their doors.
HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) -

As veterans are honored this weekend in the Tennessee Valley, there is a group that often gets forgotten. This year, there are more homeless veterans than before.

The Downtown Rescue Mission in Huntsville honored veterans with a special luncheon on Friday. While these vets are all different ages, they have one thing in common – they are homeless.

"There is nothing glamorous at all about not knowing where you are going to lay your head or where you are going to get your next meal," said Landon Flake.

Flake served in the US Marine Corps for six years. It was one of the best experiences of his life. But when he got out of the military, things took a turn for the worse.

"Addictions got out of hand, and eventually I found that I had burned every bridge in my life. I didn't have anywhere else to turn," Flake said.

He has been homeless on and off ever since. Sadly, he has come across plenty of other vets who are also homeless. The Downtown Rescue Mission said about 20 percent of the homeless nationwide are veterans.

The Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs said there are about 800 homeless veterans statewide. About 60 of those are in Madison County. The rescue mission houses about 40 per night.

To make matters worse, services and resources for these vets are dwindling due to government cutbacks. There are a number of reasons behind this growing problem, but the economy, mental health issues, and addiction all play a part.

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